A betting country, abetting mediocrity? Mashujaa Day reflection

A betting country, abetting mediocrity? Mashujaa Day reflection
Statue of former veteran Kamba politician, Mulu Mutisya. [Photo: Citizen]

When mediocrity becomes the accepted norm, excellence dies a painful death – Rashida Rowe

Dawn October 20, 2016, and once again it’s time to honour those who contributed towards Kenya’s independence struggle – Mashujaa Day.

In the last six similar public holidays after Kenyatta Day rebranding following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, we have also collectively celebrated those who have positively contributed to post-Independent Kenya; who, to be honest, have been quite few.

In the same breath, there has been a gaping need to accentuate our disdain for the greater majority giving this prosperous country a bad name.

They, that a frustrated President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, October 18, hinted that public satisfaction could be achieved by assigning the firing squad on their case, in arant that earned him a nasty nickname on Twitter.

In fact, in addition to parading our present-day heroes and heroines, reminiscing on good old days when true nationalists lived and marveling at a fuzzy future, a public shaming of a growing list of pseudo-leaders and their cronies should be given as much prominence.

However much undoable that is, you would agree that it would at least bring some bit of excitement into this annual event that majority have grown apathetic to, save for the gift of another off-work day to flex online betting muscles.

Actually before the whole betting craze went public, Kenyans have been gambling on another level for a couple of decades now, only that this particular level doesn’t include winning.

You see, the inability of Kenyans to elect scandal-free leaders is so implausible, that a public officer mentioned in a corruption case has an almost sure chance of dethroning an incumbent and easily flooring other conscientious competitors.

Without the need to enumerate legislators and elected county leaders overwhelmingly ‘elected’ into office with pending court cases over misappropriation of public funds, it is important to take stock of the changing or not-so-changing face of the Kenyan voter.

The majority Kenyan voter, better known as a bettor, is swayed by a host of turbulent forces that provide undefined results after a promise of instant gratification.

Like a degenerate sports bettor, the focus of the regular voter is inherently selfish, and by that very aspect, doors are closed to reason and the so very important need to individually vet available candidates.

First there’s the incomprehensible voter bribery where an adult sells their birthright for a few notes barely enough to cover kindergartener’s monthly shopping. Jackpot!

Then there’s the infuriating ‘my people, our people’ indoctrination that disintegrates not just the nation but goes down to the very smallest sub-units in constituencies for reasons unrelated to self-preservation.

Essentially, betting on a candidate for such insane reasons definitely cannot be called voting but thoughtless gambling that takes you on a tumultuous five-year losing streak with barely an option to press the ‘cry foul’ button.

The cycle continues each election year and with it average people get into office and appoint/endorse equally unimpressive cronies into positions of power while the pawns in the village clap in confusion hoping a miracle will work on the next wager they place.

Few shujaas (heroes) worth the title still carry our country’s vision on their overburdened shoulders while a constituency of the not-corrupt-yet-not-entirely-incorruptible chooses to steer clear and carry their share home.

Now that betting is what increasingly defining us, I’ve got to ask; why can’t we ever put the wager on the right horse?

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